New developments in understanding skilled performance

Skilled performance, whether it involves rapid and accurate motor movements (such as playing a video game or using a scalpel in the operating room) or a high degree of domain knowledge (such as finding a small tumor in an X-ray or writing a journal article) typically involves learning and practice over an extended period of time. In light of recent theory and empirical research, I consider two enduring issues associated with skill acquisition: whether individuals become more alike in performance or more different over the course of skill acquisition, and what the determinants of individual differences in skilled performance are. Two broad classes of tasks are considered: tasks that involve speed and accuracy of motor movements and tasks that primarily involve domain knowledge. Issues of practice, ability, and other determinants of skilled performance such as gender and aging are discussed.